ST. PAUL -- With face-off at Xcel Energy Center between Minnesota and the Calgary Flames coming a couple of hours earlier than normal, Wild coach Mike Yeo won't have to wait long on a couple of game-time decisions he will make regarding two injured players.
Injured in Thursday's game at Phoenix, goaltender Josh Harding will back-up Matt Hackett if he's able to dress. If not, the Wild will likely sign a local amateur to play behind Hackett. Earlier this season, the Wild had to sign 51-year old Paul Deutsch to an amateur contract when a personal issue kept starter Niklas Backstrom from a game and Hackett was iffy to get to the arena in time after a call up. Hackett did, and Deutsch was only used during warm-ups.
"We have a back-up plan for that," Yeo said, divulging little.
But considering the Wild's luck with injuries this season, if they must make another signing tonight, whomever gets inked better stay warm. The Wild have used a team-record 44 players this season, tops in the NHL.
Also a game-time decision is defenseman Clayton Stoner who has not played since Feb. 2 after leaving that game against Colorado following a fight. He's missed 17 games with a hip injury.
"He had a good day yesterday," Yeo said. "It was just a matter of how he felt this morning."
Despite any hope for the playoffs being virtually gone, tonight's game is big for the Wild, who have not won a game at home since Feb. 26. Although that was just three games ago, Minnesota has been blanked by both Los Angeles and Colorado in the two games since -- making it feel like much longer.
"We haven't played real well in this building," said Wild winger Dany Heatley. "I think we got back to our game against Phoenix [Thursday]."
For Calgary, defenseman T.J Brodie did not make the trip and will be replaced in the line-up by veteran Anton Babchuk, who has five assists in 18 games this season and is a plus-1.
Unlike the Wild, Calgary is still very much in the playoff chase, entering play Sunday with 74 points, good for 10th in the west, but only two points behind eighth place-Colorado. The Flames also have two games in-hand on the Avs. San Jose is in ninth with 75 points. The Kings, also have 74 points before the log jam loosens -- the Wild are in 12th with 68.
Dany Heatley - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Nick Palmieri - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Matt Kassian - Erik Christensen - Darroll Powe
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Stephane Veilleux
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Tom Gilbert - Steven Kampfer
Clayton Stoner - Nate Prosser
Alex Tanguay - Matt Stajan - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Tom Kostopoulos - Greg Nemisz - Sven Baertschi
Krys Kolanos - Roman Horak - Guillaume Desbiens
Jay Bouwmeester - Derek Smith
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Anton Babchuk - Cory Sarich